Beyoncé outshines just about everyone at mom’s wedding

😍

A photo posted by kellyrowland (@kellyrowland) on Apr 22, 2015 at 5:28pm PDT

The Knowles family sure knows how to throw a damn fine wedding soiree. Remember Solange’s wedding? Um, we are still swooning.

This weekend Kelly Rowland shared some pics on Instagram of what we presume are all of Tina Knowles’ bridesmaids. Tina married actor, Richard Lawson in an intimate ceremony.

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Dead Cows for Piranhas: an exposé of the South African drug trade

Dead Cows for Piranhas by Hazel Friedman (first published in 2014 by Jonathan Ball publishers)

Award-winning investigative journalist, Hazel Friedman sets out on an epic, harrowing and downright dangerous quest to reveal the inner workings of the South African drug trade.

She drain-sniffs to connect the dots between international drug smugglers, the arrests of foreigners (farangs) abroad and the possible reasons why SA lacks a prison transfer treaty, which allows prisoners to serve some of their time in their home country.

South Africa has never signed this agreement, which means that, well, once you’ve committed a crime outside our country’s jurisdiction; you become (much to our police’s delight) their (the foreign country’s) problem. In 1994, shortly after Apartheid ended, a string of South Africans were arrested overseas, many in Thailand, for running illegal drugs like heroin.

Vanessa Goosen and Shani Krebs were amongst these now-synonymous-with-drugs names. Some were legitimately guilty, others claimed that they were coerced or fooled into it. Nevertheless, what was always made abundantly clear by our government, police and media was that these druggies, above all, disgraced our country’s name.

Armed with guts and a hidden camera Friedman proceeds to travel to Thailand to visit South Africa’s throwaways, the disgraced and forgotten about drug runners that were now stuck in Bangkok prisons, some for 25 years to life.

Yet, she considers an angle like no other. Friedman discovers that smugglers are often duped into running drugs across countries and are set up to get caught. They are pawns, lambs to the slaughter, sacrificed asdead cows for piranhas.

With some brilliant investigative techniques, skill and charm she uncovers how many are hired for the main purpose of being decoys.

They are set up to be arrested in order to let drug traffickers with much larger quantities slip through undetected. She focused much of her investigation on one such decoy, Thando Pendu. Hailing from Thabong in the Free State, Friedman reveals that Pendu was in fact a victim of human trafficking, not a drug smuggler out to make thousands from ingesting drugs and trafficking them around Southeast Asia. No.

She was deceived, coerced with the promise of a job driving ambulances in Bangkok by a woman whom she had known for years. This woman was even friends with her mother.

When she arrived in Bangkok, a naive Thando quickly realised that she was in big touble. The plan was not for her to drive ambulances, but to swallow large drug pellets, to smuggle them on a plane to China.

But when the young Thando weren’t able to swallow the pellets, she became a liability, the weakest link in a world where one quickly becomes replaceable. Therefore, she too was sacrificed.

Read an excerpt from Dead Cows for Piranhas here.

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– Women24

Raped on camera: the new snuff film?

More and more incidents of rape caught on camera shows a shift in how society now views human suffering. Is it all just a game and are we ever more than just characters in this game called life?

Wikipedia defines a snuff film as: “A movie in a purported genre of movies in which an actor is actually murdered or commits suicide.”

When I was a teenager I watched Mute Witness, a film about a mute girl who witnesses a brutal murder in the form of a Russian porn snuff film. Back then this made me think about why and how someone could possibly get their rocks off by watching someone else suffer in this way.

Yet, the trend of watching live executions online started in just after 9/11. Now it’s ISIS. But what about watching rapes? Is this not just as bad?

Many see snuff films as a mere urban legend. Yet, with the help of the internet, showing gruesome acts to a mass audience has never been this easy.

In 2012 drunk high school students witnessed the sexual assault of a girl one night in the football town ofSteubenville High School. Pictures of this incident were shared on social media by witnesses, yet nothing much ever really happened to the guys responsible for assaulting the intoxicated teen girl. Why? Because the perpetrators were star football players.

This weekend I was stunned to read about two men who were arrested for participating in the gang rape of an intoxicated woman outside a popular bar on Panama City Beach during spring break.

Officials said that they received a recording of the incident, which shows the passed out woman sitting on a beach chair, being sexually assaulted by several men. The entire incident was recorded, and no, neither the person recording the rape, nor any of the hundreds of onlookers did anything. No, it was more important to record the incident than to call the authorities who could actually help this woman.

To what end was this recording made? So he could show his friends? Post it online and get millions of views on some dodgy site? It baffles me.

In a way, doing bugger all, also makes you guilty of a crime. It could be argued that this is very much in line with aiding and abetting a criminal. A rapist.

Today, a similar case came to light. Channel24 reported that M-Net has confirmed that two housemates have been removed from the Mzansi Big Brother House. “One for misconduct while another contestant was removed for her own well-being,” said Channel24. Rumours are going around that this is because of an incident of rape in the house – thought M-Net has not confirmed anything.

This is not the first time Big Brother’s production staff and the show’s millions of viewers have sat idly by as women were sexually assaulted in the house. Channel24 reports on several other incidents of sexual assault that had viewers gripped.

More and more people are recording incidents of rape – be it on camera, social media or even under Big Brother’s watchful eye. Is this happening because we are seeing people more and more as characters who are merely there for entertainment purposes (yes, and some find incidents of rape entertaining)?

Or is it maybe true that finding pleasure in the act of watching human suffering has, now, become the last taboo to fall by the way side? That by, in some sense, watching others suffer, makes us feel better about our own selfish lives?

Miss South Africa: the outdated practice of judging sexy show dogs

Most punt this as ‘more than just a plain old beauty pageant’, but is it really?

Wikipedia defines a show dog as: “…a dog which has been specially bred, trained, and/or groomed to conform to the specifications of dog shows, so as to have a chance of winning.”

Pageants based on women’s beauty have been around ever since 1859. In 1956, South Africa had its very-first official Miss SA that has given women from far and wide the chance to “make something of themselves”.

Finalists (who by the way, this year, were once again exclusively statuesque and model-like) are trained, groomed and mentored to come out on top. And I must admit that no one looks more “together” than Miss SA finalists. I admire these women for that, and their poised on-stage presence. I also know that a lot goes into being chosen for this pageant as this sometimes takes years and lots of hard work.

This can, of course, be said for may professions. Women and men are trained, groomed and mentored to fit into and excel at certain roles, jobs and positions. Yet, bleaching ones teeth, a restrictive diet and staying “bikini body ready” are unlikely KPA goals.

Around the world, people often refer to beauty pageant contestants as stupid. Remember that infamous Miss Carolina moment?

View on YouTube

Yet, the Miss SA competition has always been punted as ‘much more than a beauty pageant’. It’s no Toddlers and Tiaras, as these are (thank heavens) women in their ’20s who are being coached, judged and spray-tanned; rather than impressionable pre-teen girls.

The premise, however, remains the same: women are pitted against each other, judged based on their outer beauty, inner-strength and talents, to ultimately win a princess crown and a shiny satin sash. Yes, the fairytale of being a princess is still alive and kicking today.

But in my experience, Miss SA contestants have always featured a very clever, well-educated bunch of women. Law and medical students often make up a large part of the group. This year’s winner, Liesl Laurie is a B.Com graduate.

But despite my hope for reform, the finalists donned swimwear accompanied by kaftans and Pichulik jewellery. Much, much more stylish than previous years; yet I am still not convinced that the swimwear heat should play any role. Especially not, if we want to focus this competition on opening doors for women. Particularly women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

According to the How to Enter page on the Miss SA website, all applicants must:
– Be at least 18 years old and not older than 27 years on 01 February 2015.

– Not be married and never have had a marriage annulled.

– Not be engaged.

– Never have been pregnant, never have given birth and not be pregnant.

– Not have any visible tattoos.

– Have no criminal record.

So basically, to be Miss SA, one must be the perfect “chaste” woman.

Don’t tell me it’s more about inner beauty or judging women on the choices they’ve made in life. There’s a stark resemblance to show dogs here.

To me, it seems like we are failing to question the fact that the Miss SA pageant is still mainly about outer beauty. We choose to ignore this blatant display of outdated showdoggery, opting to indulge in glorifying them for their beauty, social skills and on screen personalities.

Competitions like this have always propelled young South African women into stardom. No matter their era, they become South Africa’s sweethearts and go on to host Top Billing, become socialites and start their own companies and compete internationally in Miss World and/or Miss Universe.

It opens many doors.

Careers in the limelight are often the ones they choose. Which is what I find frustrating. Not because those careers are lesser, it’s just that at the end of the day, I find it disappointing to see Miss SA finalists trade in careers as TV hosts and self-tanning product designers instead of completing their medical or law degrees.

I want to see a bad ass neurosurgeon Miss SA. Is that too much to ask?

Images: Supplied

– Women24